On Saturday, November 27th, over 50 leaders from across Canada got together for the annual Canadian leadership conference to present, strategize, and generate ideas for the future. Centers from the West Coast such as Sarangati to the East Coast such as Halifax were represented. The all-day conference, organized by Vrnda Dasi, Canadian Zonal Supervisor, was split into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Because of the ongoing pandemic, this year’s conference was held virtually over Zoom. The conference began with an address from Bhaktimarga Swami, the GBC for Canada, where he welcomed the leaders and read one of his poems, “Reflect”, which set the tone for the rest of the day. “Let us act with the same heart, with the same vision, and make it our art.” His poem honored Srila Prabhupada and highlighted how one should follow the instructions and dedicate one’s service to Srila Prabhupada.
The first session focused on what supports Zone 1 currently has and what those supports are currently doing for the centers. Zone 1 covers all of Canada, Alaska, and a few US States consisting of Minnesota, South and North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana. There were nine presentations highlighting what these supports for the North have done in the past year. The first presentation was on book distribution which gave a glimpse into what the centers across Canada achieved in their sankirtan goals. Next, there was a presentation by Govinda’s Toronto which discussed prasadam distribution techniques and inspirational ideas that can be applied to various temples from East to West.
This year’s conference was held virtually over Zoom
Subsequently, there were two updates from two of the ISKCON Ministries, the Ministry of Communications and Ministry of Education which centered on resources available for the temples. As the conference continued, the focus turned to look towards the future. A report by ISKCON 3.0 was given on what progress had been made from the last conference: Next Generation Leadership and what to look forward to for the upcoming one in 2022. Fundraising tips were provided by the TOVP Canada Office where temples can learn to use fundraising strategies for their own temples. The morning session concluded with the subject of devotee care with presentations by the Grihastha Vision Team, Domestic Violence Team, and Human Resources.
The second session of the retreat was centred on collaboration and partnership. Devotees split into breakout rooms to brainstorm and discuss best practices. Leaders also participated in different group activities to strategize the needs of the Zone as well as how temples can work together and collaborate on various projects and initiatives. The retreat was a success with a plethora of useful suggestions, action items and gratefulness for one another.
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